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GO TO YOUR ROOM !

I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I am now focusing on my own development ( Going to MY room!) and sharing what I have learned and continue to learn. I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Monday, 25 June 2018

There is no need to waste acrylic paint!




A question that went unanswered in my recent Plein Air  Workshop was about the issue of wasting paint ( and $$) . I am critical of those in my classes that do not have an adequate palette with space for both holding paint and for mixing. Also of those that put out minuscule amounts of paint or put out one colour at a time - as they think the painting needs.

THERE IS NO NEED TO WASTE PAINT. AND IF YOU DON'T PUT OUT PAINT YOU CANNOT PAINT. YOU WILL NEVER LEARN TO MIX, TO MAKE GREYS, ETC,

Everyone has a system. My system is to have both a holding and a mixing area. I hold my paint in the small Masterson Sta Wet palette without paper when doing plein air. I take from there and mix on a neutral gray glass surface. Paint , if kept moist, lasts for weeks in the Sta Wet.

Small Sta-Wet on Coulter Art Box system 


In my studio I hold my paints in the large, 12x16 Sta Wet palette and take from there to mix on glass .

Studio large Sta Wet beside glass mixing area


If and when the paints in my palette are starting to dry, its getting too messy,  or I am just not going to be using them I scrape off the paint and place into a jar with a air-tight lid .  When mixed they usually create a gray of some value. I adjust the value with titanium white ( usually fluid) then leave or change the grey to a hue normally using Goldens Fluids with their high pigment content. I then put some on the lid so I know what the dried colour and value will be .

Palette scrapings mixed together

mixed produces a grey that is adjusted for value with white

then adjusted for hue as needed 


I can have up to 12 to 20 jars at anyone time each with a known hue and value. These are invaluable for areas like skies that I have to create negatively and often have to come back into to correct. No mixing needed - I have a jar with the colour and value required.  Has made my large acrylic pieces so my easier and NO WASTE.

When the jars empty there is always a bit on the bottom and sides . Let that air dry then soak in water a few days and that will peel out as a  piece of colored plastic leaving a clean jar.

Soaking in water 
Polymer plastic lifts out after soaking to leave a clean jar


I paint half the year in BC and half in Ontario. The jars are thus unused for up to 6 months. If I have done a good job of cleaning the tops to create a good seal the paint is still usable.

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